World scrambles to curb fast-spreading coronavirus

The number of fresh coronavirus cases around the world have now overtaken the number appearing inside China, the source of the outbreak.

South Korea stands as the country with the largest cluster of cases.

The number of new infections on Thursday pushed its total to nearly 1,600.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries say their joint air, ground and other drills have been halted in an effort to contain the spread.

Cases of infection have been found among soldiers from both countries.

The first coronavirus case in the U.S. military was found near the city of Daegu -- a hotspot that has exploded with cases in the past week.

The soldier is 23 years old.

U.S Colonel Lee Peters spoke to the media on Thursday:

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. COLONEL AND DIRECTOR OF UNITED STATES FORCES KOREA (USFK) PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE, LEE I. PETERS, SAYING:

"The containment efforts of COVID-19 and the safety of ROK and U.S. service members were prioritized in making this decision."

Meanwhile in Japan, a woman working as a tour-bus guide has tested positive for the virus for a second time in Osaka, the first in the country to do so.

She first tested positive in late January but was late discharged from the hospital.

One health expert told Reuters the implications are unclear for testing positive after an initial recovery.

Meanwhile infections continue to creep up across the globe.

Brazil confirmed Latin America's first infection on Wednesday, while several other countries including Pakistan, Romania and Algeria also reported their first cases.

Italy reported another 100 cases, taking the total in Europe's biggest hotspot to more than 400.

A hotel in Tenerife, in Spain's Canary Islands, remains on lock down over cases linked to Italy.

Many of the cases appearing in the Middle East have been linked to Iran, which has had the highest number of deaths outside China.

Governments around the world are ramping up emergency measures.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country, which has 23 cases of the virus, was operating on the basis of a pandemic.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia said Thursday they had suspended foreigners' entry for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourism from countries with new coronavirus cases.